I had the pleasure of reading Richard Branson’s autobiography, Losing My Virginity last year. It is a thick book but you won’t feel like keeping it aside even for a cup of tea or a meal as the book is written in such a way that uninterrupted reading is needed. I had already heard about this genius of a businessman who fights an unending battle of dyslexia yet, despite all that, there are 400 odd companies to his credit. He starts business by publishing a magazine called “Student” while a teenager but fails to sell it to another party and the magazine dies a natural death. Then he starts a mail order record business. Later he names the business Virgin Records and expands the business to other continents as well.
Like most of the other entrepreneurs, Branson also is a man of many a facet. He has a queer childhood dealing with dyslexia as a student, has several affairs with women, lives a pretty good family life and, more than anything else, he is a great risk-taker. He travels around the world in a balloon with a professional and meets near-death experiences and still has a passion for more adventure at his old age. He has his own peculiar type of marketing campaigns for his new ventures that take the audience by storm.
He never is disturbed by failure throughout his career as a businessman. He takes risks. Who else will start a venture like Virgin Galactic at a time NASA manages almost all their space programs with the government money? Branson is not disturbed by the failure of the first flight to take a cargo spacecraft to the International Space Station.
Branson becomes brutally honest about his relationships, unethical business deals in the first part of his career, etc. He reveals them all in a way no other person of his caliber will be comfortable with at all.
In the introduction of the book, Branson tells us that “Losing My Virginity” is Volume One of his autobiography, which takes him up to his early 40s. So, let’s hope that we would be able to read a sequel at least after his retirement, if he ever retires for that matter. It was rumored in October 2010 “Variety” magazine that Losing My Virginity was being adapted into a biopic by David Mirkin, who would write, direct and co-produce the film with Steven Paul. But there is no information available as far as I know about the status of that project.
Branson published this book, “Losing My Virginity” in 1998. With the success of this, he later published some other books including Screw It, Let’s Do It (2006), Business Stripped Bare: Adventures of a Global Entrepreneur (2008), Reach for the Skies: Ballooning, Birdmen and Blasting Into Space (2010), Screw Business as Usual (2011), Like a Virgin: Secrets They Won’t Teach You at Business School (2013) and The Virgin Way: How to Listen, Learn, Laugh and Lead (2014). Branson published an updated edition of Losing My Virginity in 2005. He tells us his views on 9/11 and how it affected his business, especially his airline Virgin Atlantic.